March 24, 2015
LAST Wednesday was Scott DiClaudio's lucky day. He won the political equivalent of the Mega Millions lottery. As one of 57 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to Common Pleas Court, DiClaudio picked the lowest number in the lottery held by state election officials to determine ballot position. He will appear in the No. 1 spot for that job in the May 19 primary, making him a virtual shoo-in to win one of the 12 seats in the court being filled this year. He might as well go get measured for a black robe.
March 22, 2015 |
Until she could buy health insurance on healthcare.gov last year, Gina Connor saw her doctor only when it was "unavoidable. " With most of her income going to caring for her child and paying the mortgage and utility bills, Connor relied on over-the-counter remedies for some five years to see her through. But doctor visits became "unavoidable" for colds and other ailments, Connor had to pay out of pocket. "It was expensive, depending on what was done," said the 38-year-old Upper Darby resident.
March 17, 2015
ELECTING JUDGES has been a bad idea for a long time. Now, it is getting to be ridiculous. Voters going to the polls on May 19 to vote for mayor will first have to make their way through a long roster of state and local judicial candidates for everything from the state Supreme Court to Philadelphia's Municipal Court. As of yesterday, there were 10 candidates running for the Democratic nomination for the three state appellate courts - Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth. There were 57 candidates running for the Democratic nomination for 12 vacancies on Common Pleas Court, in Philadelphia, which handles major civil and all felony cases.
March 13, 2015 |
THE CURIOUS case of Kathleen Kane took center stage in Philadelphia yesterday. The state Supreme Court heard spirited arguments in a packed City Hall courtroom over whether a grand-jury investigation into Kane, the state's first female attorney general, had unfolded on sound legal ground. If you're new to this mind-boggling story, it goes something like this: * Last fall, Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter appointed a special prosecutor, Thomas Carluccio, to lead a grand-jury investigation into allegations that Kane's office had leaked information to the Daily News about a 2009 grand-jury investigation into former Philadelphia NAACP head J. Whyatt Mondesire.
March 13, 2015 |
A whistle blower's lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission should be reinstated because a judge's dismissal ignored crucial facts, the whistle blower's attorney told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Ralph Bailets, a former financial manager for the commission, says he was fired in November 2008 in retaliation for his complaints about fraud, overcharges, and political cronyism in an $82 million contract for a financial reporting system. Bailets' complaints about the contract with Ciber Inc., a Colorado technology firm, also figured in a grand jury investigation that resulted in criminal charges against eight turnpike officials, employees, and contractors in 2013.
March 12, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Twelve candidates met the filing deadline Tuesday for a spot on the primary ballot to fill one of three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Six Republicans and six Democrats, including five candidates from the Philadelphia area, filed nominating petitions with the Department of State for a place on the May ballot. All but one currently sit on the bench. "Looking at the 12, there is gender diversity, geographic diversity, party diversity, and some race diversity," said Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a statewide court reform group.
March 11, 2015 |
The U.S. Supreme Court sided Monday with Amtrak in a dispute with freight railroads over priority of passenger trains on freight tracks. A 2008 law directed Amtrak to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to create standards that let Amtrak keep priority over freight trains. But a federal appeals court sided with the freight railroad industry, which said Amtrak was a private organization that could not regulate competitors' actions. The Supreme Court reversed, saying Amtrak is like a government entity given the reality of federal controls.
March 10, 2015 |
Is Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane trying to put herself beyond the reach of the law? Or is it a special prosecutor who is operating in illegal territory? That's the issue Pennsylvania's Supreme Court will take up Wednesday as it hears oral arguments in Kane's challenge to the special prosecutor who wants her arrested for allegedly violating grand-jury secrecy laws. The five justices - two of the court's seats are currently vacant - will hear from lawyers for Kane and special prosecutor Thomas E. Carluccio in a case crucial to Kane's personal and political future.
March 6, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - The fate of Obamacare hung in the balance Wednesday as the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act could continue offering subsidies to help people buy insurance in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The 80-minute session - 20 minutes longer than expected - was often a strident affair, with justices grilling lawyers in ways that reflected their liberal and conservative bents. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was notably silent through most of the questioning, could cast the deciding vote.
February 25, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf's efforts to fill two vacancies on Pennsylvania's Supreme Court collapsed Monday after one nominee withdrew his name from consideration following a controversy over an e-mail he sent and the other was left in political limbo. Centre County Court Judge Thomas K. Kistler said he was removing his name from consideration after coming under fire last week for an e-mail that some viewed as racially insensitive. With Kistler's withdrawal, Senate Republicans moved swiftly to cancel the confirmation hearing for Wolf's second nominee, Ken Gormley, a dean at the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh.